Broaden retrospective punishment at this time of refereeing need 3

People who talk incessantly about refereeing performances are dull.  In fact, the broadcast media’s tendency to focus on officiating controversy at the expense of actual game analysis is very tiresome.  Endless slow motion replays of potential handballs, the continuous ‘I think this, I think that’ of whichever ex-player pundit happens to be in the studio at the time…it’s not unreasonable to be irritated by it.

The trouble is, that such a focus is becoming ever more justified - it’s not an illusion, refereeing standards really have slipped to a perilously low level and to keep ignoring that would be rather contrary.

There’s no complete solution.  This is not the kind of problem which can be cured in a week, a month or even a year, because remedying it relies on multi-layered reform - the game has quickened and evolved to a point where the margin of human error has become too great and the response to that isn’t simply to demand a higher calibre of official.

Between now and that point in the future when refereeing modernity arrives, the game’s various governing bodies cannot just keeping shrugging their shoulders, however.

As such, it’s time for the Football Association to re-examine the procedures that exist around retrospective punishment.  The organisation may be powerless to prevent the loss of faith in refereeing, but it’s more than capable of restoring some degree of justice after-the-fact and diluting the disharmony.

On Monday, Ashley Barnes escaped punishment for a flagrantly reckless tackle on Nemanja Matic during Burnley’s game with Chelsea.  Clearly it was a dangerous challenge, clearly it put Matic at unnecessary risk and clearly Barnes should now be serving a suspension.

He won’t, however, because referee Martin Atkinson saw the incident during the game and failed to take appropriate action.

Another one of those

At some point, The FA have to recognise that this self-created red tape just accentuates the current refereeing malaise.

The restrictions on what can and what cannot be reassessed exist, presumably, for bureaucratic reasons.  At some point in time that may have been logical but now, given the speed of the game and the volume of mistakes made each and every weekend, it increasingly looks antiquated.

Until FIFA sanctions whatever measures are needed to bring refereeing to a 21st Century standard, there is really no such thing as too much retrospective assistance.  Disciplinary committees have to be permitted to look at everything that happens in a game, irrespective of what has or has not already been seen, because the priority here must be the equal and accurate application of the laws.

For the sake of preventing the football community from existing in perpetual angst, the smart move here is for The FA to untie its own hands.

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